We never want anything to happen to our beloved companions, but if anything happens to your pup, our vets have access to a variety of imaging tools to help diagnose your dog and begin treatment quickly. Our Wake Forest vets discuss CT scans for dogs, what the process is and what it is used for.

Diagnostic imaging for dogs

Computerized tomography (CT) is one of the most commonly used diagnostic imaging technologies and is crucial for the diagnosis and treatment of certain diseases in veterinary medicine. Modern-day veterinary technology has become crucial in diagnosing and treating various conditions that they may not have been able to treat before.  As in human hospitals, a CT scanner is an essential diagnostic tool for veterinarians.  

What is a CT scan?

CT scans are used to create incredibly detailed still images of the organs, bones and tissues of your pet. CT scans use a form of x-ray that is completed in a matter of minutes which makes them an ideal choice when time is critical, such as when your pet is experiencing an emergency. A CT scan will show signs of a problem after the disease has begun to change the structure of the tissues or organs. Ct scans are incredibly safe leaving no signs of radiation on your dog after the imaging is complete.

How do CT scans work?

CT scans use x-rays and share image slices to a computer where our Wake Forest vets are able to view them immediately. When our veterinarians use a CT machine it produces a number of 2D slices of a section of your dog's anatomy and then reconfigures them into a complete image we can view.

Using these 2D slices put together our vets are able to form a complete 3D view of your dog's anatomy in order to more accurately diagnose internal conditions. Our vets ay utilize these images for various purposes such as surgical planning. Once the images are produced, they are sent to your vet or a veterinary specialist to review and interpret. 

Why might my dog need a CT scan? 

Your vet may recommend and perform a CT scan if they are concerned that your dog may be experiencing an internal illness or condition and they would like to get a better view of the situation. A CT scan, with its detailed image of your dog's interior, allows your vet to better diagnose potential issues and quickly administer the appropriate treatment plan.

What are the benefits of CT scans?

The high-resolution images produced by a CT scanner help vets evaluate your dog's anatomy in greater detail than traditional X-rays allow.  

CT scanners provide excellent, detailed scans of bony and soft tissue structures in the body. The most common areas of the body scanned by vets using CT technology include your dog's spine, nasal cavity, inner ear and chest or lungs. Vets may also use CT technology to assess your pet's lymph nodes, thyroid gland, abdominal organs, skull/brain and vascular structures.

A CT scan can also be combined with a contrast agent that is given to your dog intravenously (IV), allowing your vet to see increased areas of blood flow in the body. This is a great way to detect cancer and areas of inflammation. 

What to expect from a CT scan

It will most likely be recommended for you to avoid feeding your dog leading up to the scheduled CT scan as food passing through the digestive system can interfere with the image. Another reason why you will be asked to refrain from feeding your dog is for safety concerns with general anesthesia. Your dog will need to be put under general anesthesia in order to ensure that they do not move during the scan allow our vets to take the clearest image possible.

Our highly experienced vets will monitor your dog closely for the duration of the time they are asleep. The CT scanners are very efficient, and this type of diagnostic imaging technology only takes short amount of time to perform.

Following the CT for your dog, your vet or veterinary specialist will interpret the images and provide you with an accurate diagnosis of your dog's condition along with recommendations regarding the best course of treatment for your pet.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your pet is experiencing an internal condition and is in need of a CT scan. Our in-house lab has the diagnostic imaging tools needed to provide you with a fast and accurate diagnosis of your dog's issue. Contact us to learn more and schedule a visit for your dog.